March 20, 2018 3:16 pm

Ontario Green Party leader says June election is his best chance at a victory

Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner hopes to gain a seat in the Ontario Legislature this June.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
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The leader of the Green Party of Ontario says the upcoming provincial election is his best chance at winning a seat in the Ontario Legislature.

Mike Schreiner is running in Guelph and thinks the cards are stacked in his favour heading into the June vote after two previous attempts.

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“The thing I’m hearing from voters, at the door especially, is they don’t want to replace one establishment party with another,” Schreiner said in an interview on Tuesday before embarking on a 20-stop campaign tour across Ontario.

Longtime Liberal MPP Liz Sandals is not seeking re-election and the executive director of Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis, Sly Castaldi, will try and replace her for the Liberals.

The NDP and PC Party have yet to nominate a candidate in Guelph. Both parties do not expect that to happen until April.

LISTEN BELOW: Leader of the Green Party of Ontario speaks with CJOY News reporter Matt Carty ahead of his campaign tour

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Schreiner was elected leader of the Green Party of Ontario in 2009 and unsuccessfully ran in Simcoe-Grey during the 2011 provincial election.

He ran in Guelph in 2014 and finished in third, 11,700 votes behind Sandals, but only 1,000 votes behind the PC’s Anthony MacDonald.

But Schreiner said he expects this time will be different for the greens in Ontario, who are seeing record numbers.

“We’ve grown substantially,” he said. “Our fundraising is through the charts, our memberships are at a record level, the number of contacts are at a record level [and] the number of volunteers.”

READ MORE: Mike Schreiner launches Green Party campaign office in Guelph

Another factor in Schreiner’s favour is the recent green wave across Canada that saw three Green Party members hold the balance of power in British Columbia and two Green Party members elected in Prince Edward Island.

“Elected greens are delivering on that new way of doing politics,” Schreiner said. “That’s what I want to do for Guelph and for Ontario.”

Schreiner still has an uphill battle to climb for that seat in the legislature as Ontario’s major parties have always been the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats.

Ontarians are scheduled to go to the polls on June 7.

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